tv U.S. Senate CSPAN December 26, 2012 5:00pm-8:00pm EST
>> last week the state department released a review of the attack on the u.s. consulate benghazi and found, could come systemic failures and leadership management deficiencies. just after the report was released, as to state departments testified about the attack before the house foreign affairs committee. [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] the committee will come to order. after recognizing myself and the ranking member for seven minutes each for our opening statement we will then hear from our witnesses, deputy secretary william burns and deputy secretary tom, no strangers to what is we can allow the members to question our witnesses correctly as soon as possible we will forgo additional billing
statements and instead i will recognize each member for six minutes following the presentation by the witnesses fought secretary clinton was scheduled to be here today but we have had to reschedule if her parents do to the unfortunate injury for which we wish her a speedy and healthy recovery. she has a confirmed once again she has every intention of testifying before our committee by mid january as soon as she gets the go ahead from her doctor, so we will welcome the secretary to the committee in mid january. before i begin my opening statement, i would like to raise the case of a u.s. citizen john hammer, a proud marlene that served in iraq and afghanistan and was unjustly incarcerated in mexico. i am giving you gentlemen a
bipartisan letter addressed to secretary clinton signed by close to 70 of my house colleagues asking for the administration immediate intervention with mexican authorities the accountability review board to the committee she noted in her accompanying letter that all of us have a responsibility to provide the men and women that served this country with the best possible security and support most of what is my responsibility as the secretary of state. they didn't meet the every responsibility.
the mission and benghazi wasn't the result of a protest against an obscure video as was initially claimed to instead, as the evidence makes clear the attack was coordinated and carried out by terrorists targeting personnel. after the attack had killed the ambassador stevens tyrone what sandlin doherty the secretary of state committee and the arb which is required by statute deutsch to the facilities of the post and the u.s. mission in benghazi on sat embrey 11 of this year were in by quote terrorist attacks. in the obama administration the state that the attacks were security related and it didn't involve a protest prior to the attack which were unanticipated in their scope and intensity. a dispatch from the command center and the state department bureau of economic security on the day of the attack clearly
reported it as a terrorist event and they refuse to recognize and label the attacks both during and after september 11th for what it was. they find that the failure in the leadership and management reached the senior levels and resulted in a security posture at the diplomatic compound that was an adequate for benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attacks that took place. this wasn't the result of insufficient information, or a lack of warning. as they clearly state, the responsible officials at the state department overlook mounting evidence that the security situation in benghazi was a deteriorating. they ignored the series of attacks against the western interest in the months and weeks leading up to 9/11 and failed to respond to the urgent request and pressing needs of those on the ground. given the extensive series of emergency action committee
reports and diplomatic security spot reports, that indicated that the security situation in eastern libya was coming from that to worse why was the state department unprepared for an assault. especially on the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in the united states history. the report provides the beginning of an answer when it states that there was a pervasive realization among the personnel and the special mission was sent a high priority when it came to the security related requests. the security was not a priority just what was the priority of this department in libya and in benghazi in particular? but we should be careful not to focus our attention entirely on the tragic failure in benghazi and regard it as an isolated incident. one cannot look at the evidence and conclude anything other than what was a systematic failure for brard and more worrisome
implications we cannot expect the same bureaucracy at the state whose management failures are now manifest to objectively review the departments organization procedure and performance. nor can we have any confidence in their assessment of what went wrong and what actions are needed to prevent a repeat. unfortunately the closer one looks of the more trouble in the situation and the resignation yesterday of eric boswell, charlene and raymond maxwell shouldn't shift our attention from the broad systemic failure at the state department bureaucracy in washington that this report has clearly revealed. why for a civil have made toward the longstanding recommendation of the government accountability office that the department perform a strategic review that they carry at the necessary security measures that the diplomats abroad and ensure that
all necessary actions are present to prevent a recurrence. i know there will be an attempt to shift the responsibility for the tragedy to a shortage of resources. requests for more money are a familiar refrain in the state department reports. but budgetary constraints or not a factor in the department's failure to recognize the threats and adequately respond to this situation in benghazi that is and about misplaced priorities. if this department intends to blame its long string of failures on an adequate funding, then perhaps it should take a closer look at the money that is being lavished on the global climate change, colin marie diplomacy programs another fever project. this money could have been used for providing diplomatic security including hiring
additional personnel and providing them with adequate equipment and training. this report and this hearing are just the beginning of our efforts to provide the american people with answers as to why this tragedy occurred and how to protect our diplomats and other personnel serving overseas from unnecessary risks in the future. in the devotion to duty these brave men and women are putting their lives on the line for us, and we on this committee and in this congress have no less of a duty to them. i yield back the balance of my time coming and i am pleased to yield to my good friend, the ranking member mr. berman of california. >> thank you very much, madam share, for convening this hearing to continue our examination of how we should give our government officials serving around the world the necessary protection to carry out their jobs. first i would like to wish
secretary clinton a speedy recovery and hope she gets some well-deserved rest. as she nears the end of her service as the secretary of state, i think it is inappropriate time to recognize the strong and steadfast leadership she has demonstrated over the past four years. among her achievements, she has the the problems of women and girls in the forefront and helped make their voices heard around the world. the secretary has brought needed attention to the danger of the repressive governments including the important emphasis on the internet freedom. she initiated the quadrennial diplomacy and development review to improve the work of our international affairs agencies coming and she has been a leading advocate for the use of smart power, which advances the role of diplomacy international alliances, multilateral institutions, public-private partnerships and foreign assistance and protecting our
national security. we are fortunate today to have two people who would work closely with her and make all of these accomplishments possible. deputy secretary bill burns and thomas. i think you both for your service and appreciate your willingness to be here today. as we examined in last month's hearing the tragic events in benghazi peacefully demonstrate the ongoing threats faced by our diplomats and development workers serving abroad. we must do our best to minimize the risk faced by these brief public servants and provide adequate funding to do so. but we must also recognize that such risks can never be completely eliminated. ambassador chris stevens and his colleagues understood the hazard of their jobs and appreciate that in order to advance america's interest and effect positive change in the world and
isolated the in the sea walls or limit the deployment of the diplomats to the low risk environments. it's important that we meet with the afghan village elder and a schoolteacher, assist the female activist in south sudan to read one of the reasons investors stevens traveled to benghazi was to open an american corner, a place where the average libyans could go to learn more about the united states and american values. at last month's hearing on benghazi, ambassador newman framed the issue well. how much risk are we willing to take to accomplish a particular mission and how important is that mission to the national purpose? and high risk environment, our policy makers must ask and answer these difficult but necessary questions. in some cases, the benefits will outweigh the danger. in other cases, they may not. the accountability review board
chaired by ambassador thomas pickering just submitted its report this week i would like to thank ambassador pickering and the other members of the board for agreeing to take on this solemn responsibility this reaches a number of troubling conclusions perhaps a more serious is the ideas of congressional paring away of the diplomatic security funding requests have not only seriously diminished the resources available for security in the public would is also created a culture in this department that is more productive tied with saving money with achieving its security goals. the requests for the security of grades at the mission of benghazi is some would argue a manifestation of this culture. the report also notes that a failure of leadership in the bureau of the near eastern affairs and diplomatic security
significantly contributed to the security at the benghazi mission. this bureaucratic breakdown included a block of shared responsibility resulting in stovepiped decisions on policy security rather than a holistic approach. murf she is already beginning to implement all of the arb recommendations and take additional steps to address the security concerns. for example, she recently named the first-ever deputy assistant secretary for high fructose in the diplomatic security bureau that will ensure the mission is located in the high risk areas like libya and yemen get the bureaucratic attention that the desert. the department is also the increased security proposal which would reduce the number of diplomatic security personnel and give them greater capabilities. it would also provide enhanced
security and all of the facilities while accelerating the the conception of the posts and - red areas. in addition of call for an increase in the number of marine security guards which among other things are responsible for protecting classified information to be reviewing this and other proposals, we must carefully consider how best to mitigate the risks while the same time preserving their ability to do their jobs in a way to promote national interest. >> thank you mr. berman for your statement. now i would like to introduce the witnesses. william burns hold the highest rank in the foreign service career ambassador and became deputy secretary of state in july of 2011. she is only the second serving career diplomat in history to become deputy secretary and ambassador burns served from
2008 to 2011 as undersecretary for political affairs as assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs from 01 to 05 and and esther jordan from 08 to 2001. ambassador burns served in a number of other posts in the foreign service in '82 and putting the executive secretary of the state department and a special assistant secretary to christopher albright and acting director of principal deputy director of the state department policy planning staff. ambassador burns is the recipient of the two presidential distinguished service awards and a member of department of state awards and all well learned. thank you. thomas nides is the deputy secretary of state for management and resources serving as the chief operating officer of the department. prior to joining the administration, mr. nides was the chief operating officer of
morgan stanley from 2005 to 2010 before joining morgan stanley, mr. nides served as the world wide president and chief executive officer and as the chief administrative officer of the credit first boston, the investment-banking division of the credit. mr. nides began his career in capitol hill as an assistant to the majority whip of the united states house of representatives and an executive assistant to the speaker of the house. mr. nides later served as the senior vice president of fannie mae and is the chief of staff to the united states trade representative. welcome, gentlemen, and if you would please rise so i could swear you in. thank you. >> please, stand and raise your right hand to reduce wear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the testimony you are about to get is true and correct to the best of your knowledge,
information and belief? let the record show that the witness's answer in the affirmative. >> yes, sir. >> i would ask unanimous consent that the secretary clinton's letter to u.s. the chairman of the information member be included in the record of this hearing. >> thank you mr. berman, and i meant to do that as well, so i'm glad that she's cleaning up after my sloppy act. without objection to the letter will be included. mr. burns, ambassador burns, we will begin with you, sir. >> thank you very much, madame chair, mr. berman, members of the committee, thank you for this opportunity. secretary clinton asked me to express how much she regrets not being able to be here today, and i know she has confirmed to you, madam chair, her willingness to appear before january. since the attack on our compound
in benghazi see department officials and senior members from other agencies have testified in the four congressional hearings provided by 20 briefings from members and staff and submitted thousands of pages of documents including now the full report of the accountability review board. secretary clinton has also sent a letter covering a wide range of issues for the record. so today i would like to highlight just a few of the key points. the attacks on benghazi took the lives of the four courageous americans. ambassador stevens was a friend and a beloved member of the state department community for 20 years. he was a diplomat's diplomat and he embodied the very best of america. even as we briefed for our friends and colleagues who took action on the fronts, first we took immediate steps to further protect our people and our posts. we stayed in constant contact with embassies and consulates around the world facing large
protests. dispatching emergency security teams received reporting from the intelligence community and took additional precautions where needed. you will hear more about this from my partner, tom nides. second, we intensified diplomatic campaign aimed at combating the spread of terrorism across north africa and continue to work to bring to justice the terrorists responsible for the attacks in benghazi. and we are working with our partners to close safe havens, cut off the terrorist finances, counter extremist ideologies and slow the flow of new recruits and third, secretary clinton ordered an investigation to determine exactly what happened in benghazi. i want to convey our appreciation to the accountability review boards chairman and vice-chairman, ambassador thomas pickering and former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff admiral mike mullen and also kathryn. the board's report takes a clear
look at serious systemic problems. problems which are unacceptable. problems for which as secretary clinton has said we take responsibility and problems which we have already begun to fix. before tom walks you through what you're doing to implement fully all of the board's recommendations, i would like to add a few words based on my own experiences as a career diplomat in the field. i have been a very proud member of the foreign service for more than 30 years, and i have had the honor of serving as the chief of missions overseas. i know that diplomacy by its very nature must sometimes be practiced in dangerous places and citric clinton has said our diplomats cannot work in bunkers and do their jobs. when america is absent, there are consequences to reader interests suffer and our security at home is threatened. chris stevens understood that as well as anyone. chris also knew that every chief of mission has the responsibility to ensure the
best possible security and report for the people. as the senior officials here in washington, we share that profound responsibility. we have to constantly improved, reduce the risks our people face and make sure they have the resources they need to be that includes the men and women of the state department diplomatic security service. i have been deeply honored to serve with many of these brave men and women. they are professionals and patriots who served in many places where there are no marines at the post and little or no u.s. military presence in the country. like secretary clinton, i trust them with my life. it's important to recognize that our colleagues and the bureau at the economic security and the near east affairs and across the department at home and abroad get it right countless times a day for years on end and some of the toughest circumstances imaginable. we cannot lose sight of that. but we learned some very hard and painful lessons in benghazi.
we are already acting on them. we have to do better. we owe it to our colleagues who lost their lives in benghazi. we owe it to the security professionals who acted with such extraordinary heroism that all of night to try to protect them. and we owe it to the thousands of our colleagues serving america with great dedication every day in diplomatic posts around the world. we will never prevent every act of terrorism or achieve perfect security. but we will never stop working to get better and safer. as the secretary has said, the united states will keep leading and keep engaging around the world including those hard places where america's interests and values are at stake. thank you very much. >> mr. nides. >> madam chairman, congressman berman, members of the committee, i also thank you for this opportunity. i want to reiterate what bill has said. all of us who've had the responsibility to provide them in and the women who serve with
the best possible security and support from the senior department leadership setting the priorities and the supervisors evaluating the security needs to the congress appropriating sufficient funds, we all share the responsibility. secretary clinton has said that as the secretary of state this is the greatest responsibility and her highest priority. today we will focus on the steps that we are taking a sick tree clinton's direction will continue to take. as bill said they have a clear night and look at the serious systemic problems for which we take responsibility if and we've already begun to fix. be grateful for the recommendations for the ambassador and his team. we accept every one of them, all 29 recommendations. secretary clinton has charged my office with leading the task force that will ensure that the 29 are implemented as quickly and as completely to pursue the
steps above and beyond the board's report. the undersecretary of the political affairs, the undersecretary for management, the director-general of the foreign service and the deputy legal adviser will work with me to drive this forward. the task force has already met to translate the recommendations that knew about 60 specific action items. we have designed every one of the responsible bureau for the immediate implementation and several of them will be clear by the end of the calendar year. implementation of each and every recommendation will be under way by the time the next secretary of state takes office. there will be no higher priority in the coming weeks and months. it should require more resources to execute these recommendations to work closely with the congress to ensure that these needs are met. and as i said, secure clinton wants to implement the findings and to do more. so let me offer some very clear
specifics. for more than 200 years, the united states like every other country around the world has relied on host nations to provide the security for our embassies and consulates. but in today's evolving threat we have a new hard look at the kibbutz devotee and the commitments of our hosts yet to reexamine how we operate in places facing the merging of fritz that are fragmented or maybe weekend. so, as the second frequent interaction we move quickly to conduct a world wide review of our overall security posture with scrutiny with a number of high threat posts. that part of defense boyce five agencies to the assessment teams diplomat and military security experts to the 19 posts and into 13 countries and between the departments very critical times.
these teams have provided a road map for addressing the emerging security challenges. we are also partnering with the pentagon to send 35 additional detachments of the marine security guards that's about 235 marines to the medium and high for outposts where they will serve as a visible deterrent to a hostile act. that is on top of the 150 detachments we already deployed. we are aligning resources in the 2013 budget request to address the physical form a devotees and reinforce the structures wherever needed to address the risk from fire. let me add we may need your help to ensure that we have the authority to streamline the usual process that produced faster results. we are seeking to hire more than 150 diplomatic security personnel and increased 5% to provide them with the equipment and training that they need. there is the arb recommended we will target them squarely at
securing our - outposts. i want to second the praise for the professionals. i served in this department for only two years having come from the private sector. however, as i travel to places like iraq, afghanistan and pakistan i have seen firsthand how the dedicated men and women risk their lives. we all hold them with a debt of gratitude as we go to work every day to have more than to enter the 75 posts are around the world and as we made these improvements in the field we're making changes here in washington. they have high for posts as diplomatic security and we are updating our diplomatic procedures to increase the number of experience serving in the posts. and we are working to ensure that the state department makes decisions about where our people operate in the ways that reflect the shared responsibility for our security. our regional secretary assistant secretaries were directly involved in our interagency security assessment process and
will assume the greater accountability for securing their people and posts. we will provide this committee with detailed reports and every step we are taking to improve our security and implement the board's recommendations. we look to you for the support and guidance as we do this. obviously part of this is about resources. we must equip our people with what they need to deliver results and safety and i will work with you as the need arises. but congress has a bigger role than just that. he will visit our post and you know our diplomats on the ground and the challenges that the face. you know our vital securities are at stake and that we are all in this together. we look forward to working with you. thank you, madame chair, for your support and counseling for this opportunity to discuss these important matters and we would both be happy to answer your questions. >> thank you very much, gentlemen. i would suggest that released the president would appoint an inspector general from outside of the state bureaucracy to
ensure the recommendations are adequately implemented. i would ask one joke on the missile locations and one of the bogus protest over the video narratives. adarb notes that there was a man state that didn't consider benghazi a frear deep fritz. just a day before the most recent 9/11 attacks we would see that sycophant clinton was engaged in launching a program called the diplomatic colin mary partnership where american chefs will travel the world to engage in colin gary diplomacy certainly this is an example of misplaced priorities and as such what assurances can you provide to the congress to this department's budget request would prioritize the u.s. national security and the security of the diplomatic personnel especially at the high
risk posts over such programs like the diplomatic culinary partnership or over the close to $1 billion that is allocated for global climate change programs. and second, who specifically changed susan rice talking points by eliminating the references to al qaeda and why if there was a national security concern what was it, when did the inaccurate spontaneous protest narrative originate, where did it originate, and why was that story deemed for publication in the accurate terrorism evidence, and if the ambassador had little direct knowledge of the fact on the ground in benghazi, why does she collected by the administration to be the spokesperson, ambassador burns. >> welcome madam share, on the second question and i will turn
to tom on the first with regards to the budget, what happened in benghazi on september 11th was clearly a terrorist attack. 63 clinton has addressed directly the following morning in her first public statement when she talked about an assault buy heavily armed militants on our compound. but the same day president obama talked to an act of terror and what wasn't clear that day was who exactly was involved, which terrorists were responsible and what their motives were, how exactly this terrorist attack came about, whether it was planned well in advance or more target of opportunity. i am confident that the senior administration officials who spoke to this issue and the intelligence community experts on whom they relied acted on good faith in this period. their focus was on trying to be as actual as possible and on actions because madame chair as you know there were a number of
other concerns in this period. over that period we have mom was coming over the walls of the embassies in cairo and that was for people across the administration. as i was able to clear of the inaccuracies and the original assessments because as the arb plans out there was no protest or demonstration before the attack took place but it did take the intelligence community some days to determine that that was inaccurate as the debriefed the survivors of the attack on benghazi. i am sure our colleagues and the intelligence community wish that they could have cleared of those inaccuracies sooner, and they did it as quickly as they cut and then they were in direct touch with the congress and brief you on that. >> madame chair, as you are well aware, not only have i spent the
last years here dealing we have the resources in this department there is no one that cares more about this and maybe the answer to a clinton to spend tireless hours to make sure every dollar, and i mean every dollar that we use is used effectively. as you are well aware, the budget of the state department for everything we do including all of the assistance that we give including the aid to israel and everything around the bottled product to supporting the two injured 70 posts around the world for all of our stuff and everything we're going to do is less than 1% of the federal budget. we fight every single day to make sure that we have the right resources, but it is important that we make sure that it is a dime that isn't wasted. we understand the importance of the budgetary constraint this committee and this congress is going through, and i assure you
that we are thinking everyday how we can make sure that every dollar is used wisely to protect our people to provide assistance around the world for people who deserve that. >> thank you. on the specific questions regarding susan weiss come to you have anything further to add about the talking points and the references? because in the e-mails as the attacks were under way, the diplomatic security operations command center was calling it a terrorist attack as it was under way. so it's not like the picture was clearer several days later while the attack was taking place. as i said the secretary and the president on some timber 12 a think addressed very clear terms what the nature of the attack was the talking points that you refer to were produced by the cia.
about the process that we went through and i sure they would be glad to get >> in my last five seconds just to reiterate we are glad the secretary is going to implement every recommendation and we hope there is an inspector general and in the previous day haven't been heated. thank you, sir. mr. ackerman. thank you for your extraordinary service. you are going to be messed around these meeting rooms. this might be the final six moments to speak in my 30 year
career. i want to first start by apologizing to the deputy secretaries because you have been brought here as a ruse. you were being used as foil for the conflicting intentions of some people on our committee and others in washington for partisan political purposes. and i'm not here to explain how we can work together more cooperative we as americans to make things better. but my fear is i would leave here that we would become a partisan bickering bunch of old people trying to exploit what ever we can to our own political the advantage. we have become a group of small people with press secretaries. we have become a people that
want to exploit any kind of national calamity for our political life advantage of our party. and the public is sick and tired of aid as they should be. we need a viable political parties in this country to make for democracy work. we need to let least distinct parties explaining their viewpoints and their values in the road to the collective success to put choice is between the american people. and to my friends on the other side, i would like to suggest that you reexamine your approach because i thought in my personal individual opinion that the voters didn't reject the policies. they rejected your attitude. we should be working together
and not a cross purposes. we should respect everybody in our government for the good efforts that they have put forth including especially the president of the united states and not refer to him in such vital terms trying to take down and disqualify an administration as being illegitimate, trying to quibble around here on this particular issue of the narrative rather than how we brought together to make things better to quibble over somebody said a particular word or didn't use the right word rapidan figure out how to avoid the mistakes that might have been made to not lose american lives on into the future. that is what we should be doing together as americans. anything less is demeaning to the process, to ourselves, and as good decent human beings. we have much more to offer them that. and i would suggest that derogatory looking at the secretary of state, who has
worked herself to the bone to the point of dehydration and exhaustion of traveling the globe teaching cooking classes or some nonsense rather than doing things that are serious does a disservice to the job that she has done. certainly she is a qualified individual at the same time and try to bring the people of the world together with a respect for the united states and what we really stand for and what our values truly are. sorry if i'm interrupting anybody over there. more has been done in the future in this administration to try to look into what went wrong than in the previous dozen years. this administration has given a serious look at what has gone on to make recommendations that they are looking to implement without input as quickly as possible instead of quibbling over nonsense.
instead, we talk about whether or not and was motivated by a video or whether it wasn't motivated by a video. these are complicated situations. and we have to approach them seriously. more has been done on this particular issue and which for wonderful lives were lost. but in all of the time in the previous war the longest in the country, not 40, not 400, but 4,000 lives were lost and how many heads rolled? how serious do we look into it? i disagree with the presidents of the united states but i disagreed as a matter of policy. but once that was our policy, she was still our president, and i still wanted him to succeed because the failure of the president is the failure of the nation. disagree with the policy but try to make it work, try to make it a better rather than try to
bring down an administration to coble and fight. we've taken the train off the tracks. i would be very pleasantly surprised if one of our colleagues, even one of our colleagues had his or her agenda to talk about any one of the 29 points in the recommendations the were made and say is this particular one good or bad or can be strengthened or should it be in there? because we have not really -- i apologize again -- come to do that. we have come here to either play defense or offense and defend our point of view rather than do what's right in the name of our country. it's really been an honor and pleasure to serve with all of you coming and we do have different opinions. [laughter]
i will be one of those private citizens. >> i would ask -- mr. smith is recognized for his six minutes, the chairman of the subcommittee on africa, global health and human rights. >> thank you madam share. march 12, 1999i chaired a hearing before then a series that focused on the findings of the accountability review boards that had been established in the august 7th 1998 bombing of the u.s. embassies in nairobi. the admiral chair of the two boards told my subcommittee that the car bombs killed more than 220 people including 12 u.s. embassy employees and 32 ken and national employees of the government and injured more than 4,000. he said the war, quote the most disturbed by the intertwined issues. first and adequacy of resources
to provide security against terrorist attacks and second the relatively low priority for the security concerns in the u.s. government by the u.s. department of state. the admiral said in 1999 right where secretary burns and nides sits and said in our investigation of the bombings, the boards were shocked how similar the lessons were to those drawn in the commission some 14 years ago. of course that was in 1985. the direct response to the recommendations i sponsored a bipartisan law the secure in the sea construction and counterterrorism act of 1999 that authorized $4.5 billion over five years for the acquisition of the u.s. diplomatic facilities and presidents and other structures located in close proximity of such facilities and provide major security enhancements to u.s. diplomatic facilities. that beefed up security requirements for the u.s.
diplomatic securities including fresh assessments come emergency action plans, security environment fruitless, site selections, setbacks, crisis management training, diplomatic security training, a rapid response procedures, emergency equipment and increase anti-terrorism training and africa. i read the new arb and this is the same thing. bipartisan appropriation bills in 1999 have funded the department of overseas building operations and has completed 95, at least 95 new diplomatic facilities and has an additional 45 projects in design for construction. so much has been done. obviously we can always do better. i would note parenthetically there are now at least 3,114 diplomatic security personnel, 1998 there were less than a thousand securities specialists.
that is the full increase and that is significant. we need more perhaps, that is significant. when it comes to resources, and as i said we can always do a better job, authorities and funds have been increased as a systematic boost worldwide to the embassy security over the past dozen years. of particular concern is the fact that the benghazi chair by ambassador pickering seems to make nearly identical points using language high and i have read them side by side again last night, that are almost verbatim in the boards that were cheered by the admiral crowell. it cites this persistent failure to a leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within the bureau in the state department. the arb said, and i quote, the boards of intelligence provided no immediate tactical warnings of the august 7th attack. ambassador pickering says the board found that intelligence provided no immediate specific tactical warning of the
september 11 attacks. i pointed out to my colleagues that according to "the new york times," and this is a quote in the spring of 1998, the ambassador sent an emotional whether to the secretary of state madeleine albright for the secretary's personal health. january 9th 1999 the times article said the had been fighting for months for more security in the embassy, more secure in the sea in the face of manning terrorist threats. secretary albright to "the new york times" reports took no action and months later on august 7th the american embassy in tanzania and kenya were simultaneously bombed by car bombs. he founded a number of diplomatic security staff on the day of the attack and in the months and the weeks leading up to it was the inadequate, despite the repeated requests through the special mission in
benghazi and the embassy's for the additional staffing hanft. there was a pervasive realization that served in benghazi that wasn't a high priority. so my question, a couple questions, three of them, and the lead up to the top for president obama, vice president joe biden or secretary clinton aware of the repeated request for how upgrades. second, why wasn't president obama and vice president joe biden the secretary clinton interviewed? hawken one examine all the circumstances without interviewing the very top leadership and finally, in 1999, the admiral released a list of over 100 fertility to individuals has the list of the interviewees to be made public >> i would be glad to start, mr. smith, and then turn over to tom on the first questions to the best of my knowledge just
specific security requests that were made as you mentioned when from benghazi didn't get as far as secretary clinton and you have to direct the other question to the white house met with secretary clinton i believe it is accurate to say second, and sorry, the second question? >> i don't believe there was an interview at secretary clinton but he would have to address that to the ambassador and then on the third question? >> on the list of i believe they did interview 100 individuals in this arb as well and i'm not sure that it's in the arb that the people were interviewed, but i think it may be but i don't know if it is classified or the unclassified version. i would also like to point out,,, you made a very good point about the arb in 1998
after the bombings. one of the recommendations was, which you pointed out, is to begin funding the construction of the councils and embassies had a case of about ten a year that was the decision of the bipartisan board. the allocated at the time in 1999 about a billion .5 dollars that was paid for in 1998 about ten each year during unfortunately, that has now dropped to $700 million doing it now to of the embassy's a year. >> thank you, mr. smith and the witnesses. mr. sherman, the ranking member of the subcommittee on terrorism and on proliferation and trade is recognized. >> i want to identify myself with the comments of the ranking member, particularly his recognition of secretary clinton's service to the country over the last four years. i want to identify myself with the comments of the gentleman from new york particularly who has called for us to rise above by partisanship.
we are now focused on diplomatic security. we have lost 11 diplomats in the ten years before benghazi, and our focus on diplomatic security was modest. but now it becomes the preoccupation of the committee and a preoccupation of the foreign policy and those concerned with foreign policy nationwide. why now? partly because this time we lost an ambassador and a great man. but mostly, it's because now benghazi isn't just a loss of diplomats, we have lost some before, but now there is a partisan advantage to be sought by one side or the other . this incident was an important, but is it more important than the north korean nuclear program? is it more important than the
other subjects that haven't been the subject of so many hearings of this committee? we have now decided to focus on the politics security in part because we can blame one party or the other. we can blame the state department for not allocating its resources to diplomatic security or blame the republican congress for not appropriating the enough. we should do more for diplomatic security. this department should follow its own procedures, and we have not done so. we would like to believe in the world that is subject somehow to our control, that if we just do the right thing everything will turn out right. this is not the case. we are not that powerful, and the world is not made up that way. the fact is that bad things are going to happen to good people even if we are prudent and careful. and ultimately, the security of our diplomatic personnel depends not on our own actions on the
host country. ambassador burns, just an illustration here, even if we had twice the size of the diplomatic security detail can be certain that our ambassador would have survived? >> i would need to comments, mr. sherman, first, the security of our diplomats overseas has been a preoccupation throughout the 30 years i've served in the foreign service, and it is a priority. we clearly fell down on the job with regard to benghazi, but we need to reenergize our efforts and be relentless in implementing the recommendations made. >> if you can comment on the question. if we had doubled the security effort to disconnect the accountability review board addressed the issue and it talked about two areas of inadequacy. one of the most staffing in the accountability review board
report indicated that it's not certain that additional one or two additional diplomatic security agents would have had a difference in the outcome. >> i want to get into some other issues. obviously the real responsibility for this crime is on the perpetrators of. but a big chunk of the responsibilities on the libyan government. the government that never purged itself of its jihad elements. a government that viewed ghadafi as the enemy but doesn't wage war against all sharia. this is the government upon whom our diplomatic wives are dependent. we have a tendency in this country to view everything as good guys and bad guy, so since ghadafi was the bad guy, his last few years perhaps not as bad since the state department we blocked it here wanted to provide u.s. taxpayer money to
the charities controlled by his children. he'd gotten a little better, so but we want to cast things as good guy bad guy, so since he was a bad guy we want to view the government doesn't entirely the good guys. the fact is this is a government coalition that includes some of the most evil jihadists elements imaginable ambassador burns, did the government allow us our security detail to travel from tripoli to benghazi to take weapons with them or did they have to rely on the limited weapons that were available to them and benghazi? >> mr. sherman this is on the night of september 11th? >> this is when the ambassador flew from tripoli to benghazi. >> i don't know the answer to the question. >> please do get that because this is a government that has
restricted the number of security personnel that we can have on our diplomatic missions. >> i don't know if there are any particular restrictions, and in the accountability review board report, the, you know, in areas of inadequacy that are identified don't have to do with the libyan government restrictions. they have to do with judgments that were not made about increasing the number of staffing. >> okay. i will ask you to simply answer for the record. but i believe that the libyan government hasn't granted us the right to use our air force over the air space to defend our diplomats in the future. most governments wouldn't but here is a government that can't control its own territory. as a final comment i would point out the rebels in syriac include some excellent human beings and also include some elements that are just as bad as those who
that can be reprioritized and i'm waiting for my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to address the chairman suggestion if we are spending a million dollars on global warming in this budget, wouldn't it be better for all of us, and more faithful to those serving us to allocate those funds for security if we think there's a security problem rather than for global warming which is not necessarily the purview of the state department? but in terms of, and remember that secretary lamb, assistant secretary lamb stated emphatically because it was my question and i wanted to get a specific answer, were bit just consider -- budget considerations your consideration at the benghazi
consulate and her answer was an emphatic no, no. so there must be policies then that we need to look at to see if it wasn't a result from budget considerations, why did wind up having them? it was obviously a bad call on her part and just let me say she has given this country i think 20 years of decent and good service and i am not about to sling mud at her. she may be made a bad call. she has made 20 years of good calls and, but we were discussing some of those decisions today and ambassador byrnes, you have suggested that even adding a few extra then what she suggested was necessary probably would not have deterred this terrorist attack. so we have those questions but then, as the terrorist attack was happening and immediately
thereafter, i'm sorry mr. ambassador but your statement that the president and secretary clinton made clear that it was a terrorist attack right afterwards is not true. it's not accurate. i mean the president at this high level officials of this administration immediately after the attack and for days afterwards, kept talking an overwhelming part of their discussion on the issue dealt with rage about these muslims being upset about portraying mohammed in a bad way in some movie on youtube. a huge amount of their time and almost nothing was said by them accept and so that you could quote it now about terrorism and how the deaths there were carried out by professional and very well organized and trained terrorists. now about afterwards, and how we are going to come to grips with
this. it was a terrorist thing that you have acknowledge now. are retracting down as the text -- secretary of state pledge, are we tracking down these terrorists and finding out who they are? is that happening now? >> yes sir, it is. we are absolutely committed to every resource. >> what groups that we found were guilty of this? >> the fbi's leading the investigation and i'm sure in it different setting they can brief you on where things stand. i can tell you is the state department is supporting actively with the fbi is trying to do. i was in libya in september after the benghazi attack to push the libyan leadership to cooperate in the investigation. ambassador larry pope on the ground in tripoli every day. >> let me ask you question on this. >> tunisia also. >> it's very easy to say to government can you cooperate? of course we are going to
cooperate. let me ask our own investigation. the night of the attack obviously our people aren't the only ones killed or wounded. did our intelligence investigators or intelligence operatives in that area managed to go to the local hospitals and to question those people who are coming to the hospitals with bullet lands that might? >> i don't know that they were able to do that. their preoccupation -- >> what about the next day? >> sir as you know by the next morning the american personnel in benghazi had been it accurate to tripoli. >> all of our intelligence operatives are gone and i just have to say i've been reading some the classified information and i would just tell you i do not believe that what we did was adequate and what we what we are doing now is not adequate to tie this down to specific terrorist organizations and we should be
holding those people accountable in tracking them down and seeking justice for those people who we have lost. with that said, i do not believe that holding this administration accountable for its mistakes and trying to find ways of correcting that policy is in anyway a partisan attack. thank you very much. >> mr. engle, the subcommittee on western hemisphere ranking member is recognized. >> thank you madam chairwoman and let me first, before i make my remarks, i would just like to comment on two of my mentors and friends who will not be coming back to the congress and i want to start with mr. berman. i will be taking over his duties as ranking member of this committee. starting with the new congress. i want to say we are going to miss you and your steady hand at
the helm was something we have all been aware of and appreciate it through the years, your common sense on the issues and your hard work and your collegiality is something that we will miss and i want to just express my very best wishes to you. i hope i can do as good a job as you have done and i look forward to getting in touch with you. mr. ackerman, we have known each other for a long long time and we served in albany in the state legislature together and i think your remarks before were right on the money and your intellect, your wit, your hard work, it's been a pleasure working with you. i know that we will continue to be in touch, certainly.
let me say well, ambassador byrnes. you have a long and distinguished record of the state department. we appreciate the work you have done and mr. nides i have known you for number of years under a different responsibilities and you keep getting promoted so you must be doing something right as well but we appreciate the work that both of you are doing and i know it gets a little nasty here sometimes. i think some of my colleagues don't really mean to be mean. they just get very emotional. we do appreciate your work. let me say this. one of the reasons why i love this committee is because i believe that foreign policy needs to be bipartisan. while i have taken codel's around the globe and led many of them when i was chairman of the western hemisphere subcommittee, i found that the differences between democrats and republicans were very very small when it comes to international
events and things that happened. i have never had any restrictions on anyone in my codel speaking to foreign leaders, heads of state. never have been embarrassed because we all understand that we are americans and we have a common bond and that is one of the reasons why i always enjoy this committee. it really pains me when i see some trying to make partisan hay on what happened in benghazi. i think mr. romney did it, shamefully during the campaign. and i think in times of crisis, we need to pull together as americans. our ambassador was killed and three other patriots were killed and i don't think either side should try to use it for partisan political purposes. i think this kind of gotcha politics really the american
people are really turned off by it. i want to say this before this committee, that barack obama was no more responsible for what happened in benghazi than george w. bush was during 9/11 or ronald reagan was when more than 200 marines were murdered in beirut. it doesn't happen under anybody's watch. terrible things happen and we have to again try to fix them. i look at this report and the accountability review board is something that makes an attempt to do that. i don't care if the administration officials call it terrorism or didn't call it terrorism but i have seen things where president obama use the word terrorism the day after it happened. but that's not important. what's important is that there should be no more benghazi and that is why we are having this hearing and that is why we have the plan, 29 points and the secretary clinton has accepted
them all and good for her. and she has of course appointed a new person mr. nides and i know that's you and you are really going to look at this. i am very very happy that you are going to leave this task force. but you know congress has its obligations too and we have to put our money where our mouth is and we are going to want to make sure that our diplomats are secure and we have to pony up the money. you know it's very easy and you hear rumblings in the conference -- congress about cutting back and lets cut let's cut foreign aid and let's cut foreign security. it's very easy to say that. we have pressing problems here, who cares about what happens overseas? i have heard people say that. that shouldn't he. we need to care and that is what we are doing. let me say this. according to the crs, congress
has underfunded state department diplomatic security by $600 million under the request over the last three years. the house funding level was closer to three-quarters of a billion dollars below that. the aarp observe funding restrictions have led the state to be resource constrained rather than a mission driven organization. the report continues that the solution requires a more serious and i'm quoting, a sustained commitment from congress to support the needs unquote so let me ask you this. how would the 1.4 billion increase security proposal address the aarp's concerns are the additional resources or staff did shortages in the frontline state and how would the proposal be sustained after fy2013? >> thank you congressman. we made for decisions quickly. one was that we were going to ask for additional money in 2013
for a budget, which we did which includes a $1.3 billion. that includes the additional marines that we have asked for more money for security for the diplomatic security and help for building construction so we did that for 2013. we also did the -- with the dod and the state. we went out with 19 folks around the world the high-risk folks and we tend to take those ideas and come back to the 2014 budget which we know we are in the midst of doing as we speak. what secretary clinton believes in the president believed as an immediate need for today and i want to be girl for you we had to come back as late as 2014 to lay that out as well. >> thank you very much mr. engel. mr. royce, the chairman of the subcommittee on terrorists and non-proliferation of trade is recognized. >> madam chair i would like to begin by acknowledging the role
that you have played in leading this committee. if you have always brought energy and a smile to this committee and we look forward to working together next year and the committee. i would also like to wish howard well as he moves on to the next chapter and i would like to say to both of you, that this committee and the institution is better because of the service on your part. the leadership on your part. and we look forward to secretary clinton testifying next year or next month, and i think all of us want to make sure that at the end of the day, our diplomats are safer and i look forward to working with mr. engel and all the members here. we look forward to making certain that something like this does not happen again. but part of that is making the right policy decisions. part of that goes to policy.
and if we look at some of the observations that our ambassador made, he knew that libya had become a cauldron of weapons, of jihad is, of violent ideology. he called it a security vacuum as it develops there. it was discouraging frankly to read his communiqués, warning the consequences of this. and discouraging i think to see that there wasn't any credible contingency plan in place. an eight-hour firefight, truly tragic without the ability to rescue our personnel during that eight hours. and the upshot is this report, which finds a systemic failure by the state department at
senior levels. but there are other policy questions about what created this environment. and that security vacuum that we are talking about, that was compounded by certain policy choices that led to this tragic day. policies that fed this instability in libya. here's a recent "new york times" headline. u.s. approved arms for libya rebels fell into jihad is the hands. it reports the obama administration secretly gave his blessing to arms shipments to libya libyan rebels from qatar last year within weeks of endorsing qatar's plan to send
weapons. the white house began receiving reports that they were going to islamic groups. this was a policy choice on the part of the administration. they decided not to send arms but to use it as a proxy. qatar, for this purpose. but in turning the keys over to the qataris, we were turning it over to someone who views were diametrically opposed to our own. i remember the libyan transitional authorities screaming at the time about the militants that the qataris were picking in this fight. and what those militant jihad is what ultimately do as a result when receiving those arms, of being empowered by qatar. i was warning the secretary
about this weapons plot from qatar. the the times reports the qatari armed shipments dominated at lease one of the deputies meetings which i assume ambassador you probably intended, probably participated in. i was going to ask you secretary byrnes, the accountability review board had a narrow focus here. we didn't address some of the larger questions about policy, especially the policy and terms of arms that flooded that area on the part of the qataris. wouldn't you agree that empowering qatar in this regard was a poor policy choice? >> congressman, there was a serious concern during the libyan revolution and in its aftermath about not only the arms that were in abundance in libya, but also the insecurity
across libya and the difficulty in the transitional government had in restoring security and developing security. >> i understand that, but with our approval you had 18 weapons shipments, 20,000 tons of weapons and basically the policy choice that the qataris would supply them and we would allow them to go through, on top of that, and those weapons went to the most hard-core jihadist elements. so, now those weapons are spilling into mali where al qaeda affiliates have taken up shop in posing sharia law. this country has a history with this issue and the decision here has been made again, and i just
want your answer to that. you were cognizant of this i know and ambassador stevens was approached on this. he was rebuffed when he told an american arms dealer, don't do that but when the dealers applied to sell qatar 200 million arms that application was approved. >> thank you mr. royce. >> state-by-state. >> thank you very much. mr. makes the ranking member on the subcommittee, you are recognized. >> thank you madam chairman. future chairman, i appreciate his coming in and i look forward to working with him and look forward to working with mr. engel and to both of our out going chairs and two ranking member who was on the list daily and my good friend gary
ackerman. i just have to follow up with a no when we were talking about libya there was an argument that we needed arms for the rebels. the same kind of argument is going on right now in syria, some saying we had to armed the rebels. but anyway let me, i have often said that over the years our diplomats are really the unsung heroes of the united states security. they should no longer be unsung. the attacks on our mission and benghazi's should tell congress to better recognize that her diplomat are critical to our nation's security and that we must do better to ensure they have security. it is time for us to acknowledge not just with our words but also with our deeds the importance and the danger some of america's
finest public servants face abroad, with a over 80 -- at any given time. our diplomats are often in the same kind of harm's way as our military is. without the same kind of body armor and firepower to protect themselves. we here in congress have a role to play in giving them the resources, the respect and attention they deserve. i can't tell you how many times that i have traveled and i meet with and ambassador who is trying to juggle their budget. they're trying to figure out and so oftentimes they request, they want to figure out, if there's one thing that congress can do for us is to make sure we have the additional resources and than we do the best that they can to try to stretch that budget as much as they can.
and i hope that we don't come back here next year and we start shortchanging them. for what they need. i very much want, and i appreciate, but the arb has come forward with. when i look the report, you coming with facts, guess there were some mistakes made and here is how we are going to crack them. here is how we are going to move forward. the secretary of state said i take full responsibility and there is no ducking or hiding or anything of that nature. i would hope that we could move on and i've a few questions i want to ask. i hope it's in the vein of what mr. ackerman was talking about. so, for example we have focused on benghazi. i would like to know what is the
status though before benghazi in tripoli? did we have any additional security in tripoli? was there a difference between the kind of security we had? i know one was our, just the consulate and the other was the embassy etc.. were there different requests, can you tell me that? >> as you know, the mission and benghazi was a temporary facility. as you know that is where chris stevens started. he felt comfortable there and it was a temporary facility. the facility in tripoli was our embassy and had obviously additional security in tripoli then we had a benghazi and we have more people there. office to the ratios the numbers we had in security. >> so, with a debate we have going on now in congress, we
could have sequestration that takes place. and if sequestration takes place, there is across-the-board deductions. is there any thought to what that means for security and in our embassies and for our ambassador's? >> i am counting all of the new to fix that so we don't have sequestration but if we do we will have to make some really substantial cuts and it will hurt. it will hurt not only diplomatic security but make no mistake, to your point it's not just benghazi. we have over 275 embassies and consulates around the world, dedicated diplomatic security protecting everyday and 99% of the time we get it right. we want to be a 100% but you're absolutely right, we hope that we won't be facing massive cuts in sequestration which i know i speak for most of you on the committee that hope that won't
occur as well. >> in your report, i think benghazi, as you said had a non-status. do we deal in any comprehensive manner with any other missions that we have that has a non-status as opposed to a status that will be treated differently? >> that is one of the recommendations we are looking out. is clearly an issue we need to describe. there are very few of those types of of facilities that we need to look at it and when to look at it and it's one of the reasons the secretary directed us to take teams around the high-risk post not just in temporary facilities but we are dealing with a a new normal so we need to look at each and everyone of those posts and determine the security on the ground. >> thank you so much mr. meeks. mr. shabbat the chairman of the subcommittee on middle eastern south asia's recognize. >> thank you for your work in arranging for this hearing.
i know it's been very difficult for the administration's witnesses to testify before this committee not just on this matter but quite a few other things as well. your relentless efforts are greatly appreciated by a lot of us and i want to take a moment to say thank say thank you and say job well done. i don't what the committee schedule is going to be for the remaining days of the 112th congress and we are not sure how long we are necessarily going to be around so in the event that this may be her last formal hearing of the year just wanted to commend you for the great service you you have performed before this committee and their country as chair of the committee and thank you and your staff for the work and the many courtesies you have extended to both me and the other members into our staff on both sides of the aisle and i look forward to continuing to work with you. hopefully for many years to come. i don't want to get into a long -- but some of the comments i have heard from the other side
i'll but i have to say and announcing alleged partisanship, i have heard some more -- i don't know that i've heard more partisan statements from a colleagues and many of whom i have great respect for and wish the best in a future because some will be leaving but i think what this committee is attempting to do is to find out what went wrong, why and prevent these types of things from happening again. we have lost the lives of four very patriotic americans and i think it's appropriate as -- for us to look into these matters. the events and benghazi were absolutely tragic, no question about that. ambassador stevens was known to many members and staff both before and during his ambassadorship. he was thought by all i believe to be one of our most able diplomats. i had the opportunity to visit with him in libya a little less than a month before he and the
three other outstanding americans were murdered in benghazi. his enthusiasm for his job at hand was immediately evident and he was excited about the opportunity to help newly freed of decades from brutal dictatorship. his death was not only a terrible blow to his family and nation but a terrible blow to those who seek to build a new democracy and a vital economy and to restore fundamental human rights for the libyan people. we have many patriotic americans like chris stevens and his colleagues serving around the world and oftentimes they are in dangerous regions. sometimes separated from their family and in many cases living in a very restricted existence because of security threats. but we often take for granted like the freedom of movement and relative safety for those who would do us harm, they often live without.
today we are here to review what happened as i said in benghazi and why and what we can do to protect their diplomatic personnel stationed abroad in the future. as has artie been mentioned, the report that we have all had an opportunity to see does state that there was no protest at the american facility in benghazi prior to the attack and i know many members particularly on the side of the aisle would like to have more answers as to why exactly the white house and the state department in the days following the benghazi attack chose to pursue a strategy that was ham-handed at best and a coverup at worst. i will focus my question on the findings and recommendations in airport with the hope that one day soon we will get a straight answer from the administration on the matter of the administration's early on
assistance for weeks that the terrorists were not to blame for the murders of our fellow americans but yes for the video was. ambassador byrnes and secretary nides, we review the report and we sifted through a lot of paperwork and that sort of thing that the department provided us. we have seen cables where security officers on the ground express frustration at the difficult in getting the personnel they believed they needed to protect the american diplomats and property and we now know that management of security personnel, especially the assignment of dsh on various short-term duty virtually guaranteeing limited institutional knowledge was grossly inadequate. we clearly had a problem in libya and it's probably fair to say that the department shortcomings in addressing diplomatic security issues are not isolated to libya.
the government accountability office is calling on the department on the number of cases i believe to conduct a strategic review on security mission and resources and in light of the benghazi tragedy, could you discuss relative to the resources that are going to be necessary in this issue, is there a timeline on when we are actually going to get this, and in the other embassies around the world that are in security challenged areas, are these types of things that in all likelihood present and need attention in other areas as well? either one of you. >> we as you know as i mentioned earlier we did take a very aggressive look with dod and the state department to look at every high-risk post. that is what secretary clinton ordered us to do. we brought back his recommendations. there are many many recommendations for ordering them through. she has given us clear instructions on when she
expected the results to ban and we will come back to this body to get the funding we need to or use existing funds to actually address those issues so the answer to that is yes. >> thank you very much mr. mr. chabot. mr. carnahan the ranking member of the subcommittee on oversight and investigation is recognized. >> thank you madam chairman. i just want to take a moment at the beginning of my remarks and say thank you to you and to our ranking member howard berman for their service during this congress. your friendship, your work, and also really to wish well hard colleagues in this next congress, the entire committee particularly ed royce and elliott engel as they take over the leadership of this committee. this next congress is going to have a full plate. i think the hearing today is really just a preview of that. i also want to it knowledge the work and leadership of secretary
clinton. she has aggressively and her entire team, and thank you for your service, all of our diplomats everywhere for the secretary's secretary's leadership in embracing all 29 of the board's recommendations and her strong standing to have implementation of all the recommendations well underway even before the next secretary of state is in place. i also want want to i guess admonish my colleagues on the committee. there is a long tradition of bipartisanship in this committee. how we should be standing side-by-side when we are dealing with attacks on our people overseas. to make it into some kind of a gotcha game or to try to make it into some conspiracy to do voters in november, by the words
used of this horrible tragedy that happened in libya. so, this is really about i believe our foreign-policy, the very core interest of our country and how we are seen around the world, our national security, our economic and fundamental values. that is what it's about. and it's bigger than libya. we are going to see this in countries across the globe, country by country, the same kind of repeated challenges. we have to stay focused on that. let's not backslide into pettiness. from either side. let's really focus on what needs to be done, and i guess for our witnesses here today, really
just two quick questions. because of this very changing nature and this increased demand that we are seeing. is there any additional country specific criteria the state department is considering to determine the use of additional security needs at our posts and secondly, what steps should be taken with host countries honoring commitments to the bean that convention to ensure it's not impediment to our security and a guaranteed of the safety and security of our diplomats? >> let me just ask the first question. as i pointed out in my testimony, 200 years -- going that's something we have to continue to rely on and if we don't we can't be in many of these places because places because at the end of the day we cannot provide their own security enough to protect ourselves in these host governments.
and in most if not all of those countries that works but in this new environment that we call the new normal especially new governments we are standing on, the secretary in florida to go visit those countries with the defense department and asked that question which is the division between their desire to protect and their abilities to protect us so the answer to that is they're looking at each and one of -- macaroni's countries to determine the risk factors that exist and do we have the right has been look forward to make sure we are protecting ourselves appropriately? >> all i would have congressman is this is a reality we are going to have to deal with for some years and not just to the middle east but it's particularly true there with all the revolutions in transitions that are taking place. its post-revolutionary governments that are going to have a very difficult time building security institutions that work and we are going to have to take that into account and adapt to it as time suggest.
>> think you and i yield back. >> thank you and thank you again for that family photo that was in some of our big photos here. was that your great-grandfather? grandfather, server and the committee. before i recognize mr. wilson for his questions i would like to advise their members that we expect a short vote series around 2:45 and that deputy secretarsecretar y's burns and nides have kindly agreed to remain so that we may continue the question-and-answer period for the remaining members after the vote. thank you gentlemen and with that mr. wilson from south carolina. >> thank you madam chair and madam chairwoman i want to thank you for your extraordinary leadership. you have been such a strong proponent on behalf of the american people. additionally i certainly have appreciated the bipartisan cooperation with mr. berman. both of you have just come across so well. i look forward to your leadership with chairman royce. he and i have a shared interest
in promoting a better relationship and particularly with the very important country of india, the largest democracy on earth and i am really excited about his leadership. then i share the appreciation of congressman engel and i have gone on codel's together. there will be a bipartisan angle to this committee with congressman engel. so this is all positive. i am grateful secretary byrnes and secretary nides to you being here today and i look forward to asking some questions. i do want to express again i deepest sympathy to the heroic americans that were killed in benghazi. we should never forget and we want to send our deepest sympathies to the families of ambassador chris stevens, sean smith, glenn dougherty and
tyrone woods, these truly heroic americanamerican s who lost their lives in benghazi to a terrorist attack. their dedicated servers will always be remembered by the american people. as we get into the accountability review board evaluation that the pickering report, there is an indication they -- directly the quote was in the months and weeks leading up to the attack the response to deteriorating security situation was inadequate. from each of you, what was the response and what steps have been taken, and indeed could this tragedy have been averted? >> well, congressman, clearly as the arb report concluded there
were inadequacies. there was not an active enough response to requests that were made from post. just to be clear, think typically those kinds of requests, and it was true in this case, tended to come up to the assistant secretary level in those bureaus and the arb was very clear in emphasizes and the importance of us reinforcing shared responsibility in those areas. there was, and they draw a distinction between that and the more general is concerned about insecurity in libya but i mentioned before. all of this including the secretary who travel to libya over the course of the last year were concerned about the importance of the libyan interim government building security institutions without which it would be extremely difficult to make it successful political transition or to rebuild the economy. that broad issue with something that concerns many of us including the secretary on the
specific issue with regard to security requests. the arb was quite clear in saying there was an insufficient response in those areas. those were mistakes and serious systemic problems which are unacceptable as i said before and which have to be addressed to prevent a repetition of this kind of attack in this kind of tragedy in the future. >> specifically the chairman of the armed services committee, but mckeon, asked a question and that is, to anyone's knowledge has the department of state or any federal agency requested additional military forces to augment security of u.s. personnel in libya prior to the attack lacks. >> the aarp report i think addresses the issue and the specific issue on what might have been done on that night and the reaction to the attack in his conclusion is that there was
simply were simply not enough time. given the fact that even though this incident in benghazi, the tragedy in benghazi unfolded over period of eight hours that the intensive attacks were really focused on two periods, less than an hour the special mission compound at the beginning of the deal and another very intensive attack around 5:15 the following morning on the so-called annex. so the judgment of the accountability review board was that there simply wasn't enough time to make the use of u.s. military forces from outside the affected. >> concerns me too, there is a foreign emergency support team but yet it was not requested. it was not provided. that is really just tragic to me. >> typically congressman in my
experience, that the support teams are actually deployed after a terrorist attack and they are generally deployed when a diplomatic facility has been attacked and has lost capabilities and other capabilities so a team comes in to augment them. the trend is to come in after an attack is placed -- taken place. >> i certainly hope, and i want to thank you for what you you are doing but my goodness i appreciate the foreign officers service that we want the best security possible. >> thank you. the committee will be in recess and we shall return after the vote. thank you. >> the committee will now come to order.
[inaudible conversations] i think our witnesses for coming back and i think the members also for returning. we will begin our question-and-answer period with mr. higgins of new york. >> thank you madam chair. ambassador byrnes, you have provided in your testimony, you had said that the diplomacy by its very nature sometimes -- to india quoted secretary clinton saying that her diplomats cannot work in bunkers and do their jobs. one america sets and their consequences. are interests of friend are security at home is threatened. when i hear about attacks on
american diplomats they often take me home. john granville who was a kid from my community, john was a graduate of high school in buffalo. he attended fordham university in clark's university with a graduate degree in international relations. john was a fulbright scholar. he served as a volunteer in the peace corps and he became an diplomat in the united states agency of international development. john was working with the largely christian community in southern sudan right outside of cuba. to prepare them for election by bringing in thousands of solar-powered radios so that the folks in that region of the sudan would have information about the outside world in preparation for elections for
independence. as you know southern sudan is the newest country in the world. on january 1, 2008, new year's new year's day, at 6:45 in the morning i received a call from john's mother, who informed me that the night before john was killed. he was actually murdered by gunmen while driving home from the british embassy for a new year's eve party in khartoum. john was ambushed by two gunmen who sat in their car, in front of his. john was shot in the neck and the chess. the attack followed warnings by the united nations that a terrorist cell, in sudan, was planning to attack westerners. no one blames the president. nobody attacked the national security adviser. what john's mother wanted was a response from our nation and our
community with let's get to the bottom of this so it will never happen again. it's my understanding that under the 1951 geneva convention on diplomatic relations, the host country, the host country, is responsible for the security of our embassy and that the primary focus of our marine corps embassy security group is to protect classified information at the facility with the protection of the personnel as a secondary focus. it seems to me that perhaps if we really want to get to the heart of this thing, we need to focus in on that policy. and the policy i believe deserves reconsideration. both of you have made reference to the new normal. there are some 33 countries in the world that are defined by
our state department as places where americans should not travel. diplomacy is a dangerous work. those who do it are courageous. so i would like to ask each of you is in fact we as a nation, democrats and republicans, should be seeking to change the 1961 vienna convention on diplomatic relations, to more closely, more directly, take on a policy that our people in very difficult places or with that -- would that adversely affect the purpose for a diplomatic presence in those places and including and especially those toughest places? gentlemen? >> i would be glad to start mr. higgins. i think that the issue here as both of us have mentioned before is not so much the vienna
convention itself. it's not even so much the will of certain host governments to be able to fulfill the obligation to the vienna convention and protect foreign diplomats on their soil. it's a question of their capacity and especially in countries that are going through post revolutionary transitions as we see in libya and other parts of the middle east today. there's a pic question mark about their ability to do that and how quick the they can develop the kinds of security institutions in which they can rely for security and our country and on which our diplomats and other foreign diplomats can rely. that is what we have to take into account now as a part of his review, stimulated not just by benghazi but as we look at a landscape that is changing very fast in the middle east and other parts of the world, we will have to adapt our approach to diplomatic security to take that into account. >> thank you. >> just briefly, you are right as it relates to our desire to add additional marines.
it's not so much the marines doing a security per se but as a deterrent and working with d.o.t. we are determining which countries that would obtain a nation we currently have 150 countries that have marines on them. we have asked for an additional 35 detachments and working closely with defense department to achieve that goal. is important to know that the securities in the hands of our diplomatic security supplemented with the turn as a relates to having the marines on the premise of. >> thank you and thank you both for your extraordinary work. >> thank you very much mr. higgins. judge poe the -- >> thank you for being here all day. our early conversation this morning, during my lifetime i have been called a lot of things but diplomat is not one of them. i will try to be as candid and non-offensive as they can i can be about this whole situation in
benghazi. it seems to me that security was a problem. the reports of security is a problem. i think that we ought to make sure that moving a forward across the world and i've been to a lot of embassies as most members of this congress committee have, that we focus on making sure that the people in charge know what they are doing. not using militias but using memory and. i have total confidence in the marines. they can solve any problem we will let them solve and they are a deterrent mr. ambassador, as you said. the marines, the word brings fear and interpretation of the souls of many people who don't like this throughout the world. it seems to me they would do a better job protecting american interests and hired guns from some countries like the libyan militia. my focus is on two things.
one, the day after this event occurred, september 12, there was a group, a terrorist groups in al-shahri of that took credit for the attack against ambassador and the other americans that were murdered. and of course we all know what took place and it took a while for the administration, for for the official word to say they were terrorists regardless of how long it took. this group took credit for the murder, the homicide and they were glad they did it. my first question is, do we know what terrorist group or groups 90 days later are responsible for the attack on the ambassador and the compound? >> congressman, we have made some progress in the
investigation. i don't think we have a complete picture yet about exact a which terrorists were responsible that we are developing a better picture of that and the fbi is leading the investigation and a number of other parts of the executive branch are involved in this too. who would be glad to provide you a briefing in a different setting on exactly what the status is. >> let me ask you another question. with the folks now in libya that are in charge of our diplomatic mission there, have we told them to be on alert for this group or that group or to watch out for these guys? any warnings, watch lists, whatever you want to call them, but in the specific libyan terrorist groups that we should be more careful of, in dealing with or watching them? what kind of notice has been sent out from washington to libya? >> our mission, our embassy in
tripoli is extremely well aware of the various threats out there from extremist militias, from terrorist organizations ,-com,-com ma for example al qaeda and the islamic maghreb which is trying to expand its role and the threats that it produces across north africa including in libya. ambassador larry pope is very well aware and stays in close touch with the department, the intelligence community about those kinds of threats. >> let's hope that we would pursue whoever is responsible, that we track them down and hold them accountable. i hope we hear that news as soon as possible. the other issue i want to talk about is weapons. guns and other weapons, rifles that are in the possession of different groups in libya. there have been reports and i don't know if they are accurate or inaccurate and that is why i'm asking you all. there may be a situation where
the united states gave tacit approval a wink and nod or look the other way while guns were smuggled from qatar, qatar guesses the correct enunciation now, qatar to libya used by libyan rebels. what about that? is that true, not sure we true or we don't know? >> there are a lot of home arms that flow into various living groups during the revolution as they sought to overthrow gadhafi. we had real concerns during that period and we certainly have concerns today about the number of extremist militias, well-armed extremist militias in libya who can threaten our people as they did amend but can also threaten the security of libya which is struggling to succeed in a political transition. >> let me reclaim my time since i'm nearly out of time.
my real question is, we need to find out and we need to know and americans need to know if the weapons used in the attack on our folks in libya were weapons that the united states and someone he was involved in getting to libya? the second part of the question is really a comment. we also need to know if those cents walmart gadhafi met his maker that weapons have gone to libya, may be repackaged to be well by the militia and sent to syria. has the united states been involved in that, have knowledge of the batter is that just not an accurate statement? i think we need to track the movement of weapons. i'm out of time and maybe you can give me a written answer to that are direct -- drag me to the breathing. >> thank you judge poe. >> thank you madam chair and also let me join in thanking you
for your leadership over the last two years, and also for our ranking member mr. berman. i know that any of my colleagues would agree that your departure from this house is really an example of losing one of our house giants. so we will be sorry to see you leave then i would say the same for mr. ackerman. i will miss hearing your comments on this committee. i wanted to thank the leadership for convening this meeting, and i want to thank the witnesses for taking your time to come out here with us today. when we had the hearing last month, members of this committee really wanted to hear what the arb was going to come back with before we rush to any judgment. i want to stress that i think that it was very important and it is very important that we have an objective assessment of what happened and i think you have provided that. but i really wanted to focus on what happens now.
where do we go from here? i wanted to ask a couple of questions specifically, wondering how you managed planning for diplomatic security when we are rather unpredictable when we get a budget done and what the local funding is and also i wanted to know if you could comment on if there are any new technologies or alternative protective measures that would be very useful in terms of how we protect diplomats and to what extent if we had any new technologies that you say would be useful, would have would have made a difference in benghazi? >> let me just say, someone who is relatively new to this department but has traveled to almost every hotspot in the world, the men and women who have protected security is beyond heroic. i wish we could be here and say that with 100% certainty nothing
happens but as you know it's not a proposition. i'm every day amazed and remember we have over 275 consulates, many of them in very dangerous areas where diplomatic security are not only protecting our bass at her and at usaid and like-minded folks all over the world. your point is taken, which is we are having to deal with budgetary constraints but it no time do any of us believe the quality of those men and women protecting us and anyways in anyways diminished. >> you know i mean, we do have the opportunity to travel and frankly provider protection as well. so i'm just wondering how you managed without? do we send funds one to the other white? ..
the heat as they relate to quality of technology and ability to protect us. >> is attrition a diplomatic security problem? if so, what are you doing to address that are >> i think attrition at the state department generally gets quite low. it came out were the third most likely place to work, part of that is the traitor people with respect. >> generally the whole state department divided between departments. a reliance on tv wise, people who are -- >> temporary points >> temporary employees. that's one of the examples are we examined the use and remind people coming for shorter periods of time than a year or six months and that assenting me to address and sending secretary clinton has consistently addressed to make sure we have the numbers. that's why we fast-forward
additional diplomatic security officials said they can lessen reliance. >> were to temporary employees come from? >> most if not all of them are here. they're not contract employees whether they move around one of the criticisms with the people moving in and out of benghazi were there for long periods of time. obvious to any law-enforcement officer coronagraph for long period of time can you build a team and expertise of contacts in one of the criticisms, which we need to learn from is what happened to them and comes in for 30 days and leaves? that is something we have to learn from an approved firm, especially the high-risk post. >> thank you very much come in his bass. mission it is recognized. >> thank you. gentleman, something is troubling me all along. we knew from the start this is a terrorist event and for whatever reason we chose not to call it a
terrorism event. i had covered one dated september 12, 2012 at 6:28 a.m. from benjamin d. on the half of ds command center. i'm reading the whole thing verbatim. to stephen barlett, copy to ds command center, subject benghazi up to you. the command center is sharing a terrorism event information for your situational awareness. these contact the ds command center for any requester information. as of 0500 eastern standard time the mission of benghazi has been evacuated due to ongoing attacks that resulted in the death of four chiefs of mission personnel, including u.s. ambassador to libya to three additional wounded. at this time, everyone has been evacuated to tripoli as receiving medical aid and awaiting further movement. this is an initial terrorist incident report from the ds
command center. this information contained in this report is provided only for immediate situational awareness. additional reports may follow. updating and correcting information protect accordingly. spu this e-mail is unclassified number prevented by voodoo christopher r. page 101. my concern is this, we knew from the start that it was a terrorist attack. it was a terrorist event and for whatever reason we chose to call it something else, a youtube video. untroubled because of this is a nice come president and other officials in a bad light. untroubled because this doesn't allow us to get through to the problem. the further thing is to blame it on a youtube video somehow makes it here that we are saying it is okay if we have someone of her people say something bad about another nation, that it's okay
for the nation to respond. that's the insidious message going on here. i'd like to know why when this came out just hours after the initial attack would call it something else. it's just a question. >> ms. schmidt, there's nothing okay about the murder of four of our american colleagues. this was a terrorist attack. secretary clinton as i said before was quite direct the next morning and talking about a missile by heavily armed militants. president obama spoke to an act of terror. what was not clear at the time was exactly which terrorists are responsible, what their motives were, whether they were motivated in part of a mob coming across the wall of our embassy in cairo, which may of been partly in response to the video you mentioned. just to note the motives were. there's no question about was that this was a terrorist attack. >> it's an act of terror is
different than a terrorist attack. >> what i would add is that much in response to an earlier question. the officials to address this issue in intelligence committee on whom they relied were focusing on trying to be as factual as possible and also focus on action in this. and they were also dealing with the reality, all of us were, where you have mobs coming out of the walls of our embassy in cairo, tunis and for now. all of us are focused on protecting their people. no one was trying to misrepresent anything. people were trying to get to the bottom of this and deal with this immediate threats. of course the intelligence community, my colleagues they are, i'm sure they wish they could have corrected the inaccuracy because in fact there was no protest in a demonstration of benghazi that night prior to the attack in s-sierra but report points out. wish they could have corrected that inaccuracy earlier.
that in accuracy was not the result of anybody trying to misrepresent anything or mislabel. people acted in good faith. >> something else and plow into information i'm still trying to plow through it. we as the february 17 group to protect us, correct? and yet we knew they were unreliable in other instances and yet we still allow them to be our protection. and yet when things happened, they ran. is it because they're cowards, were ill prepared? ill trained, or something more nefarious going on. some folks that suggests, and one of them is john schon, a fellow at rice university institute of public policy at these folks were connected to al qaeda and that this was to undermine our security.
are we looking at those kinds of things to make sure that when we are having security on the ground from a foreign country, the day are not connected to her enemy? >> we certainly are, ma'am. the aarp report points out the inadequacy of reliance on the february 17 brigade. the reality is our diplomats had experience dealing with them during the revolution are they played it on a roll of benghazi, especially chris even knew a number of those groups and they had responded adequately on earlier occasions, the obvious reality is that it inadequate. >> i know it at five seconds, but have elected to their friends with and with their lineage was and if there's any connection to a terrorist organization like al qaeda? >> absolutely. we look at all those questions very carefully.
>> mr. sisley and if rhode island is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you for leadership. this may be the last opportunity i have to do that and acknowledge the extraordinary leadership of mr. berman who is a recognized statesman and will be missed by this committee, by this congress and our country ought to thank him for his extraordinary contributions. into ms. ackerman, i hope it's appropriate for me to associate myself with her remarks. their poetic and important. thank you for your service. i thank you for being here and appreciate the work you're doing and testimony you have provided today. i particularly want to extend recovery wishes to secretary clinton and acknowledge her work and leadership and wish her a full and speedy recovery and ask you communicate that to her on my behalf. this is our committee second
hearing on the events of september 11th in the post of benghazi libya that resulted in the tragic death of ambassadors events and three other brave americans, sean smith, tyrone words and glenn dougherty. these are how dangerous it is for diplomats to do the work they do around the world, we cannot eliminate all risk, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to mitigate and manage those risks. i want to thank admiral mullen and ambassador pickering for taking this comprehensive and prompt review of this important matter and applaud secretary clinton for except in conclusions in developing a task force for the immediate implementation of all 29 recommendations. i want to say that i look forward to determining how we can help facilitate the implementation of recommendations. if their specific ideas that we
should be doing as a committee, as the congress to support implementation, i would very much like to hear that. i appreciate the insight the review has provided and the inc. are response now is to be sure their resources and other necessary support we can provide is provided so these recommendations can be fully adopt it. what a day to ask you to comment on design of the secretary ordered a worldwide real to diplomatic pose, particularly post-that have higher threat posed. i think to know whether or not the department has the resources it needs for additional things we should be doing to be sure in the interim as the solder process of implementing 29 recommendations is underway. would you tell us what she found in that review if it's been completed about the remain high
risk posed. i think they should be doing? have you done an assessment of capabilities and commitments of our host nations, which are responsible for some of the security. i am very grateful you are here today in thank you for your testimony. >> congressmen, thank you very much. about 60 days ago when the secretary ordered us to take a review, a very clear view of the post them up are referred to as the high-risk posed, we determined not possibly 19. we can find another country on that list. there were 19 posts in which a team of defense and state department together, for people on each team, five teams hit airplanes and went around the world to assess and make it
unclear instructions. they could ask any questions. they were to determine any vulnerability. there need to assess not only desired the country to protect, but ability to protect. as my colleague has pointed out, there's a difference between the two governments. we come back with a lot of conclusions including specific needs, everything from we need better roles to mark pryor equipment to any tune of the counselor. it's too close to the road. we went to a level of detail to make sure we were missing anything. we compiled that. we haven't implementing team that i will meet tomorrow morning for the third time over the last three weeks and must exactly every item we need to address. i want to be clear even with his 19 posts, there's many other
places around the world we are vulnerable. as i said before we run into things. the government to protect us in diplomatic operations to make sure they have resources. we are very much focused on not will be coming back to the congress needs to make sure we have for the 2014 budget atop the money we party asked for, the money monies we party discussed. thank you. >> i hope as you implement the report did she feel free to communicate with this committee about what your needs are so they can be certainly support resources you need to successfully implement those recommendations. i thank you again. i yield back. >> thank you. mr. johnson of ohio is recognized. >> thank you, madam chairman. gentlemen, first of all thank you for coming before a committee today and testifying. were either one of you in a
decision-making role, either part of the decision-making process are having worse if the request for increased security at our compound in benghazi or denying security or denying support when i was asked for in that stretch across form and spirit were either you're decision-maker? >> in the run-up that took in the garcia said arb report -- >> were either of your decision-maker? >> i'm not sure why we are talking to you two guys. you see, i am way past the rhetoric of the youtube video and the ruse that the administration tried to perpetrate on the american people and i'm election year. the american people are looking for accountability. who made these decisions that got four americans killed? i spent 26 and a half years in
the air force. our troops and our diplomats that go into foreign places, in harms way, go with the knowledge of two things. one, they understand that there is a risk, but they also understand that they are citizens of the greatest, most powerful nation on the planet and they go with the confidence that america is going to do everything possible to ensure their security. it is unconscionable to name that anyone, any american diplomat would be in a situation where their security request would be denied and that forces were not in place to respond when and if things got out of control. i want to look at a couple things in the report. the report says all the interagency response is timely and appropriate, i don't know how we can say that. without for dead americans.
there is not enough time for military assets to arrive make a difference. it provided no tactical warning of the attacks. in other words, we got surprised. we got surprised. one of the most important factors in warfare is the element of surprise and we are at war with the seemingly invisible elements of terrorist groups like al qaeda, hamas, hezbollah. we know about the importance of surprise for generations. and throughout the study of the art of war, throughout my military career, i studied and practiced not only how to best exploit the element of surprise to gain the advantage against their adversaries, but also how to prevent our nation from falling back into surprise. to say that we had no warning, when clearly there were requests, to say that we had no
warning after repeated requests represents absolute failure on someone's part and i want to know who made the decision that our ambassador and his staff, the their lives were not worth the risk of adequately preparing security for what we knew is a dangerous place. the bad guys are sitting out there watching. they were testing the soft underbelly of america's resolve. that's been our soft underbelly since we were founded as a country. are we going to stand up and protect individual freedoms and liberties of the american people when the guys cast? they were probing and they saw no response to a worsening security situation and they caught us by surprise. it was a failure. the other thing the report says that there was inadequate leadership and management by officials in washington.
that's why did you guys a backdoor to walk out of. you are decision makers, but somebody was. that is an understatement that there was inadequate leadership. but to say it is excused because it was not willful is disturbing to me. when national security is at stake, leadership demands action. serious security risks put american lives at date. in my view, decision-makers who chose not to provide that security demonstrated not only irresponsibility, but willful misconduct and they should be held accountable. mr. burns, u.s. or earlier before we had to take her break that we were using every available resource in the state department to get answers to these questions.
you know, the state department can't even muster the resources to free an american veteran being hollowed in mexico against his will. i have little optimism that the state department will achieve positive results on bringing the murderers to justice a killer ambassador and his staff. i respect you are here, but i want decision-makers in front of this congress to answer to the american people on why we've got for dead americans. >> congressman, let me say a couple things. first with regard bringing to justice those responsible for the murders, what i said if every resource that the u.s. government, not just the state department is being brought to bear. >> i could be that, but that young man is still in mexico. >> thank you him ambassador. thank you very much,
mr. johnson. mr. connolly of virginia is recognized. >> madam chairman, before my clock starts again come out to thank you for your chairmanship, for your service to the country and congress. stop the clock, please, somebody. and i really do appreciate how fairly and evenhandedly you manage this committee and i thank you. i also want to thank the ranking member, former chairman of this committee, who has graced us for so many years and provided such a balance and thoughtful and intelligence approach to foreign policy. he will be missed, certainly by this member of congress. thank you so much for your years of service. >> thank you, mr. ambassador for being here today. we both have been meeting in
which senior officials of the state department clearly conspired to make sure the word terrorism was blotted out from the american lexicon, at least through the election? >> congressman, there's no such meeting. >> listening to my colleges now i thought there must have been such a meeting. no? search of the year at the meeting were ambassador brenner was directly told yet to stop talking about terrorism. were you at that meeting? >> congressman, all i can say to you is this administration commodious government throughout my years of service has been deeply concerned about the challenge. >> mr. ambassador, not denial. we are such a meeting or not? >> as i said, no such meeting. >> no, sir, i was not. >> one of the must of been at a
meeting in which secretary clinton, the president and investor the united nations, ms. rice, ambassador raised conspired to get susan rice on the sunday television shows and lie about the tragedy of benghazi. were you at that meeting? >> nosair. >> to your knowledge was there such a meeting? >> no. >> i would've thought there must have been. when a tragedy occurs such as this, and i'm old enough to have work to appear when ronald reagan was president. we have not just one tragedy. with multiple tragedies in lebanon. we lost our embassy. we lost a marine amphibious unit guarding the airport. hundreds of lives lost. i do remember democrats saying
he had blood on his hands. i remember democrats say he was conspiring to lie when shortly after he pulled out from the dead of the night and we invaded granada, i remember people questioning his integrity or patriotism. some people might have questioned his judgment, but apparently we don't have limits anymore and foreign policy. a tragedy occurred in benghazi. ghazi is inherently unstable. would that be a fair statement, ambassador burns? you might guess commissary. then ghazi in that. and to this day still in a very unstable place. >> have you read the report chaired by ambassador pickering and admiral mullen? >> i certainly have. >> tobacco include the susan rice for secretary clinton or charlene lamb were responsible,
was that the conclusion of this report? >> the report concluded it was terrorists responsible for the deaths of our four colleagues. >> at the report concluded deliberate or less than deliberate effort to cover that fact at any time at the time of the events are subsequently? >> no commissary. >> is it fair perhaps to conclude that in retrospect, mistakes are made within the state department about the allocation of resources and the nature and extent of security that needed to be provided to benghazi? >> is certainly is. it is quite clear and candid in identifying problems that occurred. those problems are unacceptable. we take responsibility for them and we are working very hard and will continue to work hard relentlessly to fix them.
>> mr. ambassador, there is an old saying in legal circles that when they say it not about money, it is about money. did ambassador pickering and admiral mullen include inter alia that the focus on lack of resources and views all the decisions, including meson, the decisions that the decision level, managers are aware of the fact they scarce resources and figure out whether they can afford something or not including security, which can sometimes lead to bad judgment. is that a fair statement? was that not affect also part of the conclusion by ambassador pickering and abnormal and quick >> there's no question the report indicates we need to examine funding levels to make sure we have the resources to
pay for security and other operations we currently need. >> so we have no conspiracy, no secret meetings plotting to cover up, no secret mean to pretend the word terrorism can be blotted out of our diplomatic efforts before or after the election and we have a tragedy that we are trying to study to make sure it doesn't recur, but no conclusion was drawn on the report that a somebody's direct responsibility and faults. it is a series of bureaucratic decisions that might have avoided or mitigated circumstance, but no guarantee to that in money and it was a factor in those decisions. fair summary? >> gap. >> thank you so much. mr. marino of pennsylvania is recognized. >> thank you, not a chair. i want to thank you for your leadership. i learned a great deal from you and ranking member bear men.
john ahmed, thank you for being here. i admire your professionalism and candor with us. first of all, i would never second guess any of our personnel on the ground in libya. as a prosecutor, i never second guess other district attorneys are u.s. attorneys in the case that didn't turn out the way they wanted to. doesn't realize until you're in that position. i have the greatest respect for our military and rely on them more than politicians. but i do have a concern about wife for several days, particularly ambassador rice was out blaming this on a video.
and i know that you and our briefing yesterday clearly stated the fbi is looking into that matter, so i'm not looking for anything from either of you on that issue because quite honestly, if there were a meeting to cover something up, i doubt very much if you two would have been invited. say not, i would like to talk about dollars a little bit at how much more we can become effective. these figures that i'm going to recite to you i'm not trying to be facetious. i'm not trying to grandstand here. i'm trying to get an idea of where these decisions are made. judicial watch said in 2011 about $5.6 million was spent on issues not related to what i
would consider to be state department issues. for example, 750,000 to restore 16th century tune tomb complex in india. 700,000 to conserve ruins in tanzania. 600,000 for a temple of the wing of line and jordan and i can go on and on. my favorite is $100,000 for a program to document endangered musical traditions in the lie. and on top of that, another 4.5 million, this is from "the new york times," to acquire acquisitions for embassy around the world through a program called art in embassies. i appreciate the arts just as much as anyone else does, but who looks at these numbers? is there any individual or entity that looks at these
numbers and saving it personnel, equipment and we also need to buy art for the embassies. that came to a total of about $10.1 million. i'm not even going to get into how many people that would've hired at how much equipment we could have purchased, but don't you think given the situation, and i'm sure this goes on in all departments and agencies and writer in congress who seemed things. what can we do to prioritize and take advantage of the dollars that are there and at this point not wasting a comment in my opinion, or maybe has a good reason on this. would you care to respond to that? >> congressmen, as someone who comes appear on a weekly basis and sits in front of the appropriations committee and the authorizing committee staff as well and has to justify every
single dollar and then i have to justify whatever money was spent to secretary clinton. she does not like her will stand for wasting a dime as relates to our knees to make sure every time is spent correctly we have lots and lots of people who determined that to be the case. there is nothing more we care about to make sure every dollar we spend is used for security and infrastructure of our people. i think we get it right 99% of the time. i'm not going to comment on either one of these programs he spoke about. that could have a conversation today to talk about each of those programs. generally, most people suggest that we spend the money we have, less than 1% of the federal budget pretty effectively. >> lets me say again and explaining to my constituents,
who were losing their jobs in their houses, that there's no explanation according to that. ambassador, do you have any comments quick >> no, i don't have anything to add to what tom said. it's a very good question and we weigh very carefully how resources are used in the department. >> perhaps in the future, not only stay, but other departments we do have someone that takes a look at these expenditures and i would've rather seen over $10 million go towards our embassies for protection. i bet. thank you had >> thank you, mr. marino. mr. marino, the ranking member is recognized. >> thank you, madam chairman. i would like to put into effect. -- >> without objection. >> how much was requested by the administration and how much was funded and appropriated by the
congress both for the personnel for worldwide security protection and for embassy security construction maintenance. needless to say the amount shows in each of the last three fiscal years cuts by the congress from the requested amount, particularly in construction, maintenance and embassy security. the atlantic -- secondly, we talk about what programs money was spent on and with a higher priority? my guess is if we look at our own congressional budget, we could see programs that people in our districts might not be that excited about. but on the issue of global climate change, the congress has
appropriated out of the foreign assistance program for the three fiscal years, fiscal year 10, $507 million. fiscal you're 11, 522. fiscal year 12, 481.5. requested this year and a lesser amount for the year that he can in october 1st, but the administration requested 469 million. the money spent on bilateral foreign assistance and climate change is appropriated by the congress. that is just the bilateral assistance. it doesn't cover assistants go into the world bank. finally, i have a question for ambassador burns. i was told a fox news report today suggest would be a warning
way to the top, that that report implies the secretary clinton knew about requests for security at the posted benghazi. it cites something you said this morning. i have to admit i didn't watch television to see this hearing this morning, so i don't know what it is they are referring to, but i think it is misinterpreting from what i'm understanding what you did that this morning, sought to clear it out. did secretary clinton know about requests for security? ticino requests have been denied for some folks on the ground thought the post was inadequately secured? >> know, congressman, she did not as i mentioned in response to an earlier question this afternoon. the arb report makes clear that the specific security request for benghazi were dealt with at the girl level and the arb is
clear in highlighting the problems, which existed there. the specific security request came up to the girl level. that is distinct from general assessments of the security situation overall in libya, including eastern libya, which the secretary and others did see from time to time and did paint a troubling picture of budgetary ration of the overall situation in libya and in particular the weakness in capacity of libyan government security institutions and that is something a number of us who visited libya, including the secretary stressed to libyan authorities have made concrete offers of assistance along with european partners and others to try to help the new interim government in libya develop security institutions. >> thank you. i go back, madam chairman. >> mr. duncan of south carolina
is recognized. >> thank you, madam chairman. your leadership will be missed on this committee, the looking forward to the future. i want to say that words mean something and they should mean something and i'm glad we are finally in agreement that this incident was a terrorist attack that took the administration longer to get there. i notice on page one of arb's report that the ongoing investigation has labeled an ongoing criminal investigation when they should be labeled a u.s. terrorist investigation, the navy the same person who worded that are also called the fort hood massacre in incident of workplace violence. words mean some thing. the arb report points out failures and testimony here today states they are being addressed and i appreciate that. they should be addressed for state and security at diplomatic
personnel all over the world. they're still many unanswered questions, especially about how do we protect and defend diplomatic corps and sovereign territory, which is what americans see our embassies and missions and little slices of u.s. territory located around the world. the question i have for you today, and let me just back up and say when we talk about labeling the incident in benghazi, even the president of the united states on the 12th sat in his statement that no acts of terror will ever shake a result. you labeled a terrorist attack a day after he may subsequently after that, subsequently labeled other things about a video. what was the u.s. military's force posture in the region at the time of the attacks and resulting ability of the u.s. armed forces to respond in the event of an attack like this?
>> congressmen, i can't describe in detail the precise force posture at the u.s. military in north africa and mediterranean at that time. as ramallah spoke publicly when he explained that given the speed of events in the pace of the attack, that there simply was not enough time for u.s. military forces in the region to have been used effect to really to avoid what happened in benghazi. >> was there a military liaison or attaché in tripoli? >> yes, sir. >> he should have been the one to court made any response from a military standpoint, working with the department of state? >> yes, sir. the military was involved and chartered a plane within 2.5 hours of the attack beginning in
tripoli and moved reaction force of 730 personnel from the embassy in tripoli to benghazi that night. they moved quickly and professionally as the report makes clear. >> let's assume there were military personnel in the area that could have responded. were there any international agreements or overfly rules that provided from taking place? >> now, our priority at the time if we could have moved forces fast enough to make a difference in that attack, that is certainly what we would've done. as you know from the report, the first intensive part of the attack took place and resulted through fire and the deaths of ambassador stevens and sean smith and then the receipt. i've a number of hours of sporadic firing. it appeared as if the incident was dying down and then there is
a second very intense attack. >> i'm going to assume they were military assets in place that could have responded rapidly. were there overflight rules in place or anything that would've prevented the military from taking action? >> i'm not aware of anything that would've prevented us us from taking action to try to protect her people had there been time to do. the issue is admiral mullen pointed out yesterday -- [inaudible] >> to charge these attack advising president of amman to best utilize resources to rescue the american ambassador? >> yes, sir, to the best of the knowledge is a previously scheduled meeting at 5:00 p.m. in the midst of the attack going on between the president, secretary panetta and general dempsey in which they discuss the ongoing situation and so the president had the benefit of the best advice from the chairman of
the joint chiefs at that time and from everything i understand, the president was committed and instructed all of its officials to do everything possible. there simply wasn't enough time to bring u.s. military forces. >> how long did this attack last? >> the first part for less than an hour. as i saidi said, there is a period of a number of hours of sporadic firing from time to time in the second intense part of the attack took place in 15 minutes from roughly 5:15 in the morning to 530 clack at the annex 700 meters away. >> how long until we found out ambassadors that? >> as i can reconstruct it was for 15:00 in the morning when benghazi informed the team that came from tripoli was at the airport that ambassador stevens was confirmed dead. >> i'm out of time, but we've
got oriented buenos aires guarding. why weren't there united states marines in a country we knew as a threat to this country interested their? i yield back. >> thank you very much. mr. turner of new york is recognized. >> thank you, madam chair and thank you for your leadership during my brief time here. the security lapses and misstatements surrounding the attack in benghazi has been covered rather thoroughly and i have very little to add. but these failures may be speak a policy mindset of some disengagement in the outback worldwide battle, not simply between radical islam and the last, but within islam between
the democratic forces and totalitarianism. our seeming failure is to engage and support democratic forces have marginalized our intelligence efforts and our own effectiveness and positively influencing political and strategic outcomes. as a matter of state policy, are we indeed somewhat disengaged? are we doing what we can to promote and support democracy in the muslim world? are reestablishing the right relationships and communications channels that might have obviated this problem in benghazi? >> congressmen, we are not at all disengaged. over the course of the last two years as we see in bring
profound changes across the arab world, the united states has been active making clear our support for the universal right people across that region deserve and that has produced revolutions, pursuit of the dignity and also produced transitions which holds a great deal of promise in terms of people eventually being able to build political constitutions that protect universal right. but it's also produced the danger of the power vacuums, the danger that other extremist groups will hijack those. the united states cannot afford to be disengaged in the face of those kinds of challenges. there is risk involved in the face of that in an extraordinarily painful way of libya. we have to be engaged. we have to do what we can to support successful transitions and ultimately the emergence of
institutions, which are going to protect people's dignity and producer with the long-term partners within the united states could work on important issues around the world. >> thank you. would you like to anything, mr. nides? >> there's no one more eloquent speaking of mr. burns. >> i would have to agree with that. >> thank you, mr. turner. i believe that our last question will be mr. mike kelley. we are in good hands with the vice chair the subcommittee on asia and the pacific. >> i think the madam chair. my first time in congress this privilege to serve with you. ambassador burns, i keep hearing about resources. only 1% of the budget. that doesn't sound like much money. what is arpeggio? >> our budget is $50 billion.
>> is approximately 8% of the defense budget. >> okay. >> when people hear 1% of the comic a lot. when we talk about resources, i'm trying to understand because i've listen to a couple different briefings. i heard mr. pickering and admiral mullen today. you're not the folks who should be here because you are really part of the decision-making process. for what i'm trying to understand, but i can't get my mind wrapped around is everybody says this is unstable and highly volatile area. and why for god's sake would we take out the best trained people we have? why did we move to team? was it because of money? >> as you're aware that we spoke about earlier -- >> is just yes or no. >> no.
>> patinkin out of the department of defense budget, right? >> as you are aware, it was in tripoli, not benghazi. >> i'm aware or lieutenant colonel was had a two state fair. they had made to stay there. ms. lam said it wasn't because of the money they couldn't say. someone made a really bad decision. i don't have any idea of the voting registration of ambassador stevens, shawn smith, mr. woods, mr. dougherty. i have no idea how many of these folks were registered. for me it's not a matter of a partisan issue. we have four dead americans. i am trying for the life of me to understand how would we say -- and i read, it's a wild way show. nobody's been charged. we are in a host country to get the price of assets we need. what in the world for
rethinking? why would allow people and make her by scrambled volatile? who made the decision? what i find out in this administration is nobody had anything to do with it. if you had anything to do with it, if they had something to do with i made the decision. either one of you. >> with that said colony to make sure -- >> are you every of the gao request in 2093 review? because they thought he was a strategic review of our embassies there were not taken them as a security problem. and if you weren't that? gao said the department of state has not responded or done the review. i find it interesting or going to do the review. i want to ask you in addition to the four dead americans, how many people were wounded that night? >> i think there were three americans who were wounded in
one of them his son walter reid hospital. >> is one of them? any idea how bad their injured? >> yes, sir. the gentleman, our colleague at walter reid was injured very badly. >> so whenever we found out this attack to plate, how long did it take us to get there, to fly to hope this people we knew were wounded. how long did it take to get their boarded the plane leave from and where did it land? >> a plane left from tripoli as i mentioned before. >> elicited in tripoli? >> the chartered aircraft as soon as they found out -- >> would've a chartered airplane take off from? >> tripoli. >> so flew to benghazi? i wanted to sit on the tarmac? >> the team was better for three hours while they were trying to determine what happened to ambassador stevens. >> what time did we get them --
where did we fight back to? >> i'm sorry -- >> he said he flew from tripoli to benghazi, picked up our dead and wounded. wear them? >> dégas benghazi than tripoli, then the embassy nurse behaved heroically during that period. then they were evacuated to germany. >> when do we evacuate our people in tripoli? >> it was within a few hours. >> the time let's really get confused here. i think people we to your chameleons land. there's a great deal of time that evolved in between. i'm not blaming you to because you two really shouldn't be here today. secretary of state should be here today. she can't be here. i understand she's injured and i respect that. but there's something wrong here.
the american people should wonder what happened that night and why it took so long. before that, why would we pull the best trained people we have out of an area that is called -- it was a dangerous spot, a high risk, high threat and we made it a soft target. we actually emboldened those folks there that night to say, guys. you know who we replaced the team with? libyan nationals at $4 an hour unarmed. and that's the way we respond to high risk areas. that's how we respond to areas that are volatile? that's how we respond to areas in the response possible? the same time we were doing this, you know what we were doing in vienna? we had a big party, the green initiative. we put in a charging station, had a champagne party. we talked that way we were tactically we were in the screen initiative.
what i don't understand is how the world could read these are people in benghazi so vulnerable that's baloney and you know it and i know it and i for one i'm really disappointed the secretary of state has handled this. >> thank you, mr. kelley. mr. fortenberry, vicegerent africa global health and human rights is recognized. >> thank you, madam chair for holding this important hearing. although snippy discomforting, i must address something that happened earlier in this hearing. i don't care to be lectured about the need to be bipartisan, particularly in such an intolerant and uncivil tone. this is an important hearing. their serious questions here and to suggest that our motives are your views or political motivation to me is disrespectful and discourteous and unworthy of the letter t. of this important matter. the gentlemen, i want to thank you for coming and your willingness to address in a professional manner hard questions before you today. i also look forward to hearing
from secretary clinton when she is available and to wish her the best of recoveries. after meeting ambassador pickering and i'm harmelin, and confident they did a thorough job with the accountability review board. it is a sobering and daunting task and they give us a good strong framework for future guidance. there's still some unanswered questions. he touched on them at length, but i've got to go back to a few. many people see the public commentary and aftermath is misleading. the video narrative was given as the primary explanation of the deadly assault and bass was wrong, he i can see how there may have been an initial discussion of the potential linkage of the video given the events in cairo to the suggestion that i was a motive for the attack. i also think the video narrative reflects a certain tendency i
see perhaps to it or not replace hope and civil society commit deemphasizing the harsh realities that there's any means out there that could potentially conduct a coordinated attack on our facilities. our officials quickly knew that we were dealing with a premeditated terrorist attack, but the video narrative persisted, persisted. can you explain why? >> congressman, i say a couple things. it burned more than 30 years in the foreign service understand harsh realities very clearly. it's a complicated world, and the middle east and can be a risky landscape and i can assure you that our diplomatic missions understand that very well and we certainly do in washington as well. as i tried to explain before, the administration officials to address this issue in the intelligence community professionals on who they depended it in good faith. this was a terrorist attack and we try to address that lamely at
the start. what was unclear, with exact composition of the attackers, their motives, how this came about, whether as a target of opportunity or something planned well in advance. those issues are still the subject of investigation. but there was no protest, no demonstration before the attack. i'm sure my colleagues in the intelligence community wish they could have come to that conclusion more quickly. it did take appeared in several days to debrief survivors of the attack in benghazi henderson is my colleagues in the community were able to conclude there was no protests, no demonstration, they were here to brief u.n. colleagues on that. as i said, congressman, the truth is people operated in good faith. i've been to remember these crises in the past. the first stages are often confusing and are sifting through lots of conflicting information. i honestly do not believe there was ever an attempt to
misrepresent or mislead anyone. >> the question becomes then, what was communicated to the white house and state department during the benghazi attack? >> during the attack, there is very intensive communications between a embassy, people on the ground in benghazi. the arb looked at this issue carefully and their conclusion and i respect as there is a professional systematic communication and decision-making between washington during this period and the president was actively engaged. secretary clinton was actively engaged to a powerful night. >> is a letter to the president in early october nearly a month after the attack, asking for more fullness of that nation. you have a video narrative still turning out there is one possible explanation. some conflicting viewpoints publicly stated. i accept that you're correct.
but there is no answer to that letter, asking for a full unpacking of what information was to be had given what we clearly know now. and they asked for information again at the end of a cobra. i think you can understand why there are questions as to why this has persisted for so long and suggesting subways there an intention to potentially mislead here? >> all i can say, congressman, as i honestly do not believe there was ever any intention to this leader misrepresent. there were some inaccuracies in a statement. >> can you explain the delay in response? >> i'm looking at a letter from senator mccain, i -- >> we owe you straight to correspondents. >> thank you for your professionalism and dedication. i appreciate your willingness to come